Paedophiles’ predators using apps in phone to find and groom potential victims


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/nu_WnaEzw-E

Hunters hunted: R.AGE journalists went undercover as 15-year-old girls to meet up with online sex predators who target teenagers. Watch the videos at rage.com.my/predator:

This was among the material gathered by The Star’s R.AGE journalists who went undercover for these meetings.

Six months before paedophile Huckle made global headlines, the R.AGE team had already started its undercover sting operation against sex predators.

During the period, R.AGE compiled material that included obscene images, inappropriate messages and hidden camera footage of the undercover journalists at work.

Malaysia does not have laws against “sexual grooming”, which refers to the process of gaining a child’s trust for future sexual exploitation, even though statistics show it has been on the rise.

Mobile chat apps (WhatsApp, WeChat, BeeTalk, Facebook Messenger, etc.) seem to
have become the most popular tools for sex predators in Malaysia, based on Bukit Aman’s statistics.

Since 2015, a whopping 80% of reported rape cases involved sex predators who started out online.

During a sting, R.AGE confronted one such predator, who was propositioning the undercover journalist on WeChat and sending photos of his penis.

“It’s a numbers game,” said the 28-year-old postgraduate student who is a self-confessed sex addict.

“On WeChat and BeeTalk, you can search for people nearby, and filter them based on gender. After I filter out all the men, I just send messages to as many girls as possible.”

The predators then start grooming those who reply to them. They would earn the trust of these children and gradually introduce sex into the conversations.

Another man claimed he is “an expert in massages” and that he had done it on at least two other girls below 15.

The situation has long weighed on Assistant Commissioner Ong Chin Lan, the Bukit Aman Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division (D11) assistant principal director.

“If we had grooming laws, the authorities might be able to arrest predators like Huckle early on,” said Ong.

“We need to empower our law enforcement agencies.”

Sources: The Star http://rage.com.my/Predator/; http://rage.com.my/catching-sex-predators/

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PEDOPHILIA is not a new sex crime. What is new is the attention that it is getting in the public arena in Malaysia especially after the cas…
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The affliction that feeds on children


PEDOPHILIA is not a new sex crime. What is new is the attention that it is getting in the public arena in Malaysia especially after the case of Huckle (pic). In fact pedophilia has developed into the hot topic in Criminology.

A pedophile is an individual who prefers to have sex with children. They have an abnormal and an unnatural desire and attraction for sexual relations only with children.

Sexual abuse of the children can begin without people recognizing it because it can be a small act in everyday life.

Pedophiles come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. They are normally male, from any race, educated or uneducated, young or old, rich or poor, employed or unemployed. They can be religious or non-religious, a father, family member or trusted coworker or professional.

Just as Huckle used” wealth and status as Westerner” to exploit children, pedophiles hide behind the cloak of normality, morality and respectability within the community. Research revealed that nine out of ten are close to their mothers.

One of the most popular criminological theories is the notion that criminal behavior is learned in association with those who have criminal attitudes and values.

The majority of criminologists believe that the behavior of a pedophile is caused by environmental factors (nurture), involving upbringing and life experience of the individual. Furthermore, perpetrators confess that they themselves were child victims of sexual abuse.

However, recent studies revealed that individuals suffering from pedophilia are also fostered by genetic or biological traits which eventually lead to criminal behavior.

Colleen Berryessa, a Criminologist, stated that a 2014 Korean report on monozygotic twins with pedophilia, concluded that genetic influences appeared to be more important to the causes and development of pedophilia than environmental factors, including childhood abuse.

But there seems to be little or no agreement about what conclusively makes an individual cause pedophilia.

Experts also believe that there is no permanent treatment to cure pedophiles but some claim therapy treatment can work but is a challenge. Since pedophiles are sociopaths whose behavior is antisocial, lack sense of empathy and moral responsibility for their victims, the disorder is chronic and lifelong.

Studies show that pedophiles are repeat offenders after imprisonment or treatment.

The criminogenic asymmetries factor such as relaxed atmosphere, weaknesses in laws and enforcement produce criminal opportunity, motive for foreign pedophiles like Huckle himself to took advantage of the weak internal controls in a country to find victims. The penalty in their home country is normally more severe.

To fight this crime we need legislative changes, more effective laws, intelligence gathering and sharing, technology such as facial recognition and enhance investigation capabilities by training specialists.

Huckle operates a website called The Love Zone (TLZ) on the Dark Web, a hidden network used to maintain anonymity. His site consisted of photos of the children he abused and shared with other members.

The web is accessible only with specialized software or conducting deep web analysis. To make it more complicated; cybercriminals are often using encryption to protect their malicious data and communications.

There should also be increased focus on proper enforcement and skill level in conducting cybercrime investigations in order to reduce the use of the Dark Web in committing child sexual activities.

Crime prevention should be the priority for police but that should not be their sole responsibility. To prevent crime is the obligation of everyone in society and parents, schools and families have responsibility to ensure children are safe.

They must also instill in children a strong appreciation of right and wrong.

Parents, being the most important people in their children’s lives, must make sure children are not exposed to situations where irresponsible people can take advantage of them.

They must pay attention and respond when any adult seems overly focused on befriending a child, make a spot check on child nurseries and babysitters and do not allow a child to go alone on vacation or spend the night with someone other than those proven to be trustworthy and reliable.

Certainly do not assume that a person is reliable because of position, status, title or working in a place where children commonly gather.

At this point, our country still does not have a central registry for child abusers and pedophiles. The data is very important as it would contain the particulars of sex offenders, allowing law enforcement agencies to keep track and monitor the child sexual activities in our community. We need to protect our children.

By DATUK AKHBAR SATAR

Institute of Crime & Criminology, HELP University

Related:

Cops to identify other victims

NGO: Hard to catch predators

Preying on the faithful – Watching The World

Protect our children from sex offenders 

http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/focus/2016/06/10/protect-our-children-from-sex-offenders-malaysia-cannot-be-perceived-as-a-paradise-for-child-abusers/


The dynamics of elder abuse is different from child or domestic abuse. There needs to be specific laws that protect the elderly and safeguard their interests.

Change needs to happen to protect seniors from being abused

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This British monster paedophile defiled Malaysia’s kids

Huckle pleaded guilty to 71 charges of sexual offences against 23 children aged between six months and 13 years from an impoverished
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China ends one-child policy, are you ready for another child?


China to allow two children for all couples 
Videos:

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf
http://english.cntv.cn/2015/10/30/VIDE1446156842305273.shtml

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf

http://english.cntv.cn/2015/10/31/VIDE1446246722803731.shtml

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/world/video/2015/oct/29/400m-births-prevented-what-chinas-one-child-policy-did-to-its-population-video


Dialogue 10/30/2015 One-child policy ends

Are you ready for another child?

Most young couples can provide the best learning and growth environment for only one child. When you decide to have another child, you should plan your budget in advance. If you or your parents can’t take care of your baby, you have to at least spend an extra 5000 yuan per month to hire a nanny. If the gender of your new baby is different from your first one, you have to prepare another bedroom. If you want to send your kids to study abroad, you have to save another 1 million yuan. I think most young Chinese couples cannot afford the expense.
Are you ready for another child?
A girl with her younger brother. [Photo by Wang Nina/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Bcnu (US)
If you aren’t terribly happy parenting one child –don’t have the second. Two is more than twice the work, there’s no guaranteeing they’ll share interests; they could very well fight or want to head off in completely different directions. If you find you love the second one more than the first, I don’t see how that could possibly make life simple, as children are very sensitive to that sort of thing. Having a second child will also extend the number of years until your nest will be empty again.
It’s very unrealistic to expect that you will love your second child if you’re having trouble loving the first. My advice is to take care of yourself and take time for your love for the first child to relax and grow before even thinking about having a second child.
Are you ready for another child?
A couple with their two children in this file photo. [Photo by Li Chuanping/Asianewsphoto]
Luciana (UK)
Being a one-child family allows me to keep a good balance between my family life and my job. It gives me the joy of being a mother, but it’s not too overwhelming to the point where I don’t have any time for myself or my husband. Financial barriers were also a factor in my decision. With a mortgage, and two cars, we have to be a two-income family. Having another child is financially just not an option for us.
Are you ready for another child?
The two-child policy was put into practice in early 2014 and did not lead to a baby boom in many provinces in China. [Photo by Zou Zhongpin/for China Daily]
Steven (US)
Sometimes we make some choices not because we prefer them but because we have no other choices to make. The twists and turns of life always narrow your choices or eliminate them completely. I always thought having two kids sounded perfect. But when my daughter was born with life-threatening health problems I know she would be my only kid. Raising our daughter was going to take a lot of emotional, physical, and financial resources. If I had any more children, I didn’t think I could handle it.
Are you ready for another child?
He Shaodong (L) and his wife Zhou Jun show their birth certificate for a second child in Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui province, Feb. 14, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
William (China)
Under the one-child policy carried out in China for three decades, many kids are spoilt by their parents. The “litter emperors” have no idea of sharing and giving and many of them even become self-centered. If we have another child, the first one will learn something about responsibility, sharing and caring for others.
Are you ready for another child?

A girl poses for a photograph at a commercial area of downtown Shanghai, in this November 28, 2012. [Photo/Agencies

– China Daily

Dad’s what all kids want?


Father_kids

Fathers have an impact – good or bad, intentional or otherwise – simply by what they do, and what they don’t.

TODAY is Father’s Day. There is no real significance to this date, other than the fact that it has become yet another day for commercial interests to make more money.

And so we are inundated with messages on what we should buy for our fathers – anything from a tie to a power drill is fine.

It is also interesting that many charity organisations have also got into the game, where you can give a donation on behalf of your father in support of various causes.

I won’t pour cold water on those who believe this day should be celebrated in such manner. Having been a father for nearly 30 years, I will say that a day’s celebrations can’t encapsulate the role of a father, which is both unique and challenging.

More so in our Asian culture where fathers tend to play second fiddle to mothers in a nurturing role, and may not have enough opportunities to exert their influence on the children.

But the reality is we, fathers, do have an impact – good or bad, intentional or otherwise – simply by what we do, and what we don’t.

I have written before in this column that the best times in my career were the six years, over two different stretches, that I spent at home as a full-time father.

I had a whale of a time, although my better half did find it tricky explaining to friends why she had to earn the bread and butter while I was gallivanting at home.

Without being tied down to an office routine, I had all the time in the world. During my first stint, when my sons were still quite young, we had plenty of fun activities. Among other things, I built them a playhouse, flew kites with them, and taught them to swim and to ride a bicycle.

On my second stint, when they were already in their pre-teens and had become more aware of the world around them, our conversations often revolved around the values of life.

Fathers, as you receive gifts on Father’s Day, I wonder if you have thought about what gifts you might give to your children in their formative years – gifts that money cannot buy.

Do you teach them how to make the right choices, rather than lay down a list of dos and don’ts?

Do you respect that they have a voice that needs to be heard, or do you exert authority simply because you are the father?

Do you imbue in them the fortitude to overcome obstacles in life, resisting the urge to always jump in and rescue them?

Do you affirm their dreams, or simply tell them to be practical and march to the beat of the world?

I have learnt that these lessons cannot be taught in a textbook format, and certainly not in one sitting.

Lessons in life are passed on over many conversations and through much time spent together.

If we are the kind of fathers who leave home before our children wake up and come home after they are asleep, or even when we are present with them, are not really listening, perhaps it’s time to take stock.

The world tries to make busy dads feel less guilty by highlighting the effectiveness of so-called quality time. But I believe there can be no quality time without time in quantity.

Fathers, full-time or not, are you prepared to leave everything aside when your child comes up to you, because you are the only person he or she can call “dad”? And will you show, through your words and actions, that such moments mean all the world to you?

Happy Father’s Day.

By Sunday starters SOO Ewe Jin

Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin urges every dad to listen to Cat in the Cradle, made famous in 1974 by Harry Chapin. The song is about a father who was too busy to spend time with his son, who eventually grew up just like him, a busy man who did not have time for his father. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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New lawyer Darren Tan, once 10 years in jail; S’pore CJ: do criminal and family law


Darren Tan_parent

10 years in jail, now a lawyer

Darren Tan, 35, is finally a full-fledged lawyer.

He reached that milestone yesterday when he was called to the Bar during a mass ceremony at Nanyang Technological University.

It was a far cry from his shaky start in life when drugs and gang activities led to over 10 years behind bars and 19 strokes of the cane.

“This is the culmination of what I’ve been working towards for the last 10 years,” he told The Sunday Times. “It’s like waking up from a dream and finding out your dream has become reality.”

His life of crime began at the age of 14, and he was in and out of prison for offences that included robbery and drug trafficking.

It was only when he was 25 and behind bars for the third time that his transformation took place. He found God, and decided to make something of himself.

He resumed his studies with help from the prisons programme, re-learnt English, a language he had forgotten, and aced his A levels, scoring four As and a B, including an A1 for General Paper. He was still in prison when he applied for law school, and became the first student with a criminal past to be admitted to the National University of Singapore law school.

Now, he has a job waiting for him. He did so well during his six-month practice training at TSMP Law Corporation that the firm has given him a permanent position as a commercial litigation and dispute resolution lawyer.

The firm’s joint managing director, Mr Thio Shen Yi, said that while he had initially decided to take a chance on Mr Tan, it had only been a six-month risk.

“He still had to earn his job. And he has,” said Mr Thio. “He is sincere; he has street smarts, maturity and EQ. You can see his transformation through his actions, and this resonated with us because we’re very much a firm that believes in giving back to the community.

“If I had ever thought there was any risk of the firm’s reputation being besmirched, I would not have taken him on.”

Said Mr Tan: “This is my first real job. I enjoy what I’m doing and the bonus is I get paid for it. I’m learning new things every day.”

He spends long hours at work, but tries to leave early every Monday. He and former inmate Kim Whye Kee, an artist, have set up an outreach initiative, Beacon of Life, based in Taman Jurong, to help at-risk boys and youths. On Monday and Saturday nights, they play football.

Mr Tan dined with Britain’s Prince Edward in a 16th-century castle earlier this year, when he was invited there to speak about the National Youth Achievement Award which he has received, and how its programmes could benefit others.

Mr Thio is hoping to rope in Mr Tan to work on the Yellow Ribbon Project to help former prisoners, a scheme which his firm supports.

“He will be able to give us direct insight into where the need is greatest,” he said.

The Singapore Academy of Law, which has supported the Yellow Ribbon Fund since 2011, is in talks with Mr Tan to be part of its upcoming corporate social responsibility programme, which aims to get more in the legal fraternity to join forces to help former offenders.

An only child, Mr Tan has a girlfriend and lives with his parents in a four-room flat in Jurong West.

With a steady pay cheque, he can finally help with family expenses and has promised to take his parents and godfather on a cruise.

His father, Mr Tan Chon Kiat, 67, who does not work, and mother, Madam Ong Ai Hock, 62, a production operator, could not be prouder.

Said Madam Ong: “I didn’t think he would have these opportunities but he has changed his own future. I used to be very worried for him, but now I’m very happy.

“It goes to show that if you work hard, the past is the past.”

Looking forward, her son said: “I have a mantra of sorts – ‘Be good in what I do and do good with what I do’. I used to take drugs because there was a void in my heart and my life. Now, I have something to get hooked on apart from drugs. My life is a good enough substitute.”

By Chang Ai-lien Straits Times/Asia News Network Sun Aug 24 2014

Once in jail, but he’s now a law grad

Darren Tan
For the first three years in law school, Mr Darren Tan kept to himself.

Now he wishes he hadn’t.

The 35-year-old, one of over 10,000 to graduate from the National University of Singapore this year, was afraid that he would not be accepted because of the more than 10 years he spent in jail for drug and gang-related offences.

But last July, he told his story to the media. “After I went public, I received messages of support from my classmates,” said Mr Tan, who will receive his law degree on Thursday.

He has secured a practice training contract with TSMP Law Corporation, but hopes to continue helping lawyers with pro bono work.

Fellow graduand Chua Koon Ting, the first polytechnic student to enter the Faculty of Dentistry, also said that he was not treated differently by fellow students.

“What I learnt is that in university, no one cares where you came from, it’s in the past,” said the former Singapore Polytechnic student, 27, who is now practising at the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics.

This year, 10,282 will be graduating from NUS. They will include the first graduates from five programmes, including the master of Social Work and Public Health doctorate.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam presided over the main commencement ceremony yesterday, in which 160 students from the University Scholars Programme received their scrolls.

One of them was valedictorian Ow Yeong Wai Kit, 25, who received first class honours in English literature.

He will be heading to University College London to do a masters in literature on a Ministry of Education scholarship.

“It’s not so much about whether one has a degree. What’s more important is that we have certain intangible skills that can be used regardless of one’s vocation, such as a sense of curiosity,” he told reporters.

The ceremony was also attended by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat. During his address yesterday, NUS President Tan Chorh Chuan spoke about former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who last month received an honorary Doctor of Laws from NUS.

Said Prof Tan: “The qualities and values he exemplifies, and in particular, his deep sense of purpose, these serve as a powerful beacon not just for all of us in NUS, but for the broader community in Singapore and beyond.”

By Stacey Chia, Debbie Lee The Straits Times/Asia News Network, Friday, Jul 12, 2013

CJ advises new lawyers to do criminal, family law

Lawyers-S'pore

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s newest lawyers have been urged to begin their careers in family and criminal law to hone their skills, instead of heading straight for corporate law, which is getting more competitive than ever.

The legal community yesterday welcomed 430 newly appointed advocates and solicitors at this year’s mass call to the Bar, up from 411 last year and 363 the year before.

The expansion in the number of lawyers means the newcomers will enter a market where the generous salary packages and multiple job offers their predecessors enjoyed will be harder to come by, said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

This is also because other major legal centres around the world, such as New York and London, are cutting back in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, he added.

A week ago, Law Minister K. Shanmugam highlighted how Singapore could face a glut in supply of lawyers in the next three years as more aspiring lawyers pursue a law degree here and overseas.

During yesterday’s ceremony at Nanyang Technological University, the Chief Justice said the legal industry is adjusting from one of “undersupply” – when there were more jobs than law graduates – to one where supply and demand are more balanced now, especially in commercial law.

“This means that you will not be running with the wind to your back,” he told the new lawyers hoping to enter corporate and commercial practice. Instead, they can expect “more competition, fewer guarantees and less room for negotiation”. This is a trend that is happening not only in Singapore.

After a period of sustained growth in New York and London “in the later decades of the 20th century”, the pace of recruitment there has slowed down.

Singapore, which benchmarks lawyers’ salaries with those paid by New York and London firms, is no exception to these market forces, especially given how “we also compete in a South-east Asian market where starting salaries are generally lower”. Instead the Chief Justice challenged the new lawyers to take the plunge into family and criminal law – where there is a shortage – and cut their teeth there.

While he admitted that there may be a “good deal less glamour” in these areas of the law, there is no better place than community law for young lawyers to get into the thick of the action, said the Chief Justice.

New lawyers The Sunday Times spoke to said while the market may be getting tighter now, it is their juniors who will feel the pinch. Mr Asik Ali Sadayan, 26, a Singapore Management University graduate, said: “My juniors have told me that it has become a lot harder to get training contracts.

It was easier for my batch and we did not feel the competition as much.” Every year, about 400 local law graduates, along with a growing number of foreign-educated ones, apply for about 500 training contracts offered by law firms.

The six-month contract gives would-be lawyers the real world training they are required to complete before they are called to the Bar. In his speech yesterday, Law Society of Singapore president Lok Vi Ming said his organisation is considering various initiatives to ensure that every graduate eligible for a training contract will get it.

Other new lawyers told The Sunday Times that they had their hearts set on corporate law, and would prefer to give back to society through pro-bono work – something the Chief Justice said was important for lawyers to be involved in.

Not only does such work keep lawyers connected to the community, it also helps them to avoid thinking that their worth is reflected by how much they bill and little else.

Sources: The Straits Times/Asia News Network Sun Aug 24 2014

It pays to be stern


Fathersday_stern

I AM writing this in response to the article “Hats off to a strict father” written by Nithya Sidhhu (Here:  Hats off to a strict father ). The article really resonated with me.

All my three children, have always viewed me as a strict father.

Their complaints have never failed to make me feel that it was wrong for me to be such a strict father.

Like the writer, my eldest daughter also smarted under my regimen and in fact, complained to many of her friends that I was too harsh.

I felt that she did not understand the fact that I was actually intent on moulding her to become a person who would be ready to face life’s harsh realities one day.

Feeling misunderstood added to the guilt that grew in me.

That is why I felt immensely relieved when I read the article especially the words: “You may not appreciate it now but the discipline will help you in the future.”

Upon reading the article, I sent it to my eldest daughter who is currently studying in India.

Her reply really touched me because she said: “Appa (father) it was only after coming to college that I realised your strict ways were meant for my own good.”

Since it was Fathers Day, she sent me a picture with the quote: “The reason why a daughter loves her Dad the most is because there is at least one man in the world who will never hurt her. I love you, Dad”.

Both the article and my daughter’s message have succeeded in finally getting rid of the guilt within me.

Some fathers can’t help being strict but let me stress that they have their children’s best interests at heart.

The post is contributed by KARUNANITHY SUBBIAH Kuala Lumpur The StarEducate Sunday 22 June 2014.

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Hats off to a strict father


Fathersday_strict

 

The writer pays tribute to the man whose strict code of rules and ethics have guided her over the years and attributed to her personal and professional goals.

I CAME across the following quote by illustrator Victor Devlin recently. It goes: Listen, there is no way any true man is going to let children live around him in his home and not discipline and teach, fight and mould them until they know all he knows. His goal is to make them better than he is. Being their friend is a distant second to this.

When I read his words, I thought to myself: “That sounds exactly like my father!”

Seriously, aren’t we who we are because of the way we were brought up? In my case, I must say it was that my father who shaped my character and my will. He was the most dominant force in my childhood years.

As a teacher, I’ve had students complain to me that their fathers were tough on them. I’d say to them in consolation, “You may not appreciate it now but the discipline will help you in the future”.

Children of strict fathers – yes, we exist.

When I was growing up, I have to admit though that I felt stifled by my father’s autocratic ways. Often, I bristled with inner rebellion when he was demanding and harsh.

But, it was his relentless pursuit for my learning and development that laid the core of steel I now have within me. Even my passion for realising both personal and professional goals springs from the firm resolve that he girded in me.

Values (and the right ones at that) were what he embedded in me. Integrity, determination, perseverance, diligence, responsibility and accountability: my father marched for years in a policeman’s boots that bore these very studs!

When I became a teacher, I found myself following my father’s example. I chose to be a strong, capable and respected individual.

But, I had no desire to be as hard as him. Therefore, the one important concession I made to myself was to temper my strict ways with traits of love, understanding, compassion and kindness.

For me, the “yin” and the “yang” of this combination are what made the crucial difference in my success as a teacher.

Nonetheless, the hardy principles taught by my father served me time and time again as I faced one challenge after another in the 26 years I trudged through the blackboard jungle.

When I was teaching in a large urban school once, a man came to see me to find out whether his son’s performance was good enough to apply for a premier college overseas.

Handing me his business card, he told me was that he was the head of a finance company. Assessing me rapidly with his eyes, he said, “My job takes me away from home a lot. But I want only the best for my son.”

Talking brusquely, he made no bones about the fact that he had both the means and the desire to send his son overseas to study. “It will make him independent,” he explained. When I spoke about his son’s potential and ability to succeed, the man listened quietly.

Cracking the whip

After I was done talking, he gave me another appraising look and then admitted, “I don’t get along very well with my son. He thinks I’m too strict. But, I know it’s important that I crack the whip now. If not, we will both regret it later.”

And then he shook my hand and left. No smile. No pleasantries.

Watching him leave, not only did I understand him, I understood him perfectly.

My student would inquire later how the meeting went. I assured him that it went well.

But in thinking about his father, I knew I hadn’t told the inscrutable man that his son was, in fact, a difficult student to deal with.

At times, in handling this boy, even I was filled with despair. What was to become of him? What could I do to help him? And, could I even really be of any help?

But, I neither lowered my standards for the boy nor gave up on him. As far as I was concerned, he had both the intelligence and ability to go far in life. He just wasn’t trying hard enough.

After meeting his father, I began to suspect that this boy’s reluctance to shape up was probably an act of retaliation against his father’s coldness.

In requiring good work of him, this student would often say churlishly to me, “Why are you so hard on me?”

And I would reply sincerely, “Because I really believe that you have it in you to do better work.”

But unlike his father, I showed this boy my “softer” side as often as I could. I would say pleasantly, “You know, I do care a lot about you. And, you perform surprisingly well when you take the trouble to do so.”

Once, I even told him: “Listen, I had a difficult time with my father too but he made me a successful person. Give your old man a break and put in some effort.”

Although he avoided me often, I pursued my goals relentlessly. I was after all, my father’s daughter, and if there is one imprint he left on me — to be persistent.

Finally, persuaded and encouraged to believe in himself, the boy began to turn the corner. After that, it was a joy to teach him – really it was!

He came to see me often and we talked about all sorts of topics – girls, music, books, politics and even photography.

I praised his good attributes and his honest attempts to improve, not once, but many times, because I knew his father could not and would not.

As a teacher, it was my responsibility and duty to do so, therefore I did it.

Reform and learning

My father believed in the power of reform through education. As a teacher, I too believe that all students are capable of learning. Therefore, a teacher’s push really matters.

By the way, I am not alone in thinking along these lines. Have you by any chance read Andre Agassi’s 2009 autobiography Open? Well, this former Wimbledon tennis world champion has faith in the same maxim.

After he retired from playing professionally, he launched the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation. In 2001, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, a K-12 public charter school for at-risk children. The 26,000-square-foot education complex that carries Agassi’s name places a huge emphasis on excellence. Agassi’s goal in hiring teachers is to procure men and women who are “sharp, passionate and inspired” and “willing to lay it on the line” and “get personally involved”.

He asks one thing and one thing only of his teachers: That they believe fervently that every student can be a learner.

Agassi hit a resounding shot when he said: “It sounds like a painfully obvious concept, self-evident, but nowadays it’s not.”

See what I mean? I’d add another adage: Do your best and God will do the rest. As teachers, we are bound by convention and limits but we still have to set, pursue and then reach the right goals. The minute teachers give up, the kids start falling like bowling pins. My father hammered this home because he could not and would not tolerate it when I said: “It can’t be done!”

Upon hearing this explanation, his answer was always the same: “Stop making excuses! Just admit that you didn’t work hard enough!”

Ah, what a great man he was because I do know now that his strict vigil did work wonders. Happy Fathers Day!

Contributed by Nithya Sidhhu Sunday StarEducate

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